Friday, March 11, 2011

Why Brooks Oprik Should Have to Fight John Erskine

Hockey in my estimation is a game of great equivalency. No one team, or single player should be held to a higher standard, while the off ice police have trouble comprehending this, the on ice police do not. Although Zdeno Chara might not have been reprimanded by the league, he will eventually have to answer to someone. Retribution is just as much part of the game as the surface they play on.

When Claude Lemiuex hit Kris Draper face first into the boards during the 96 playoffs he was immediately suspended by the league. But the punishment handed down to Lemiuex by the league was not enough to satisfy the Red Wings. "An eye for an eye" was their motto, as it is the motto of many teams and players in the NHL. "The code" has long been when you injure an opposing player in a questionable fashion you are then required to take your medicine. The Red Wings sought their pound of flesh, Lemiuex turtled and the rest his history.

However, the code appears to be evolving and its necessary presence is extending to borders it does not need to reach. During the 2011 Bridgestone Winter Classic, David Steckel late of the Capitals collided with Sidney Crosby away from the play. Crosby has had concussion like symptoms ever since. While the incident was certainly unfortunate, it appeared to be completely unintentional. Steckel was attempting to get up the ice and back into the play when his shoulder caught the head of an unsuspecting Crosby. Crosby has yet to play since this incident. Correction, Crosby has not played since the following game when he was driven head first into the boards by Tampa Bay defenseman Victor Hedman.

In the next meeting between the Caps and Pens, Derek Engelland and Michael Rupp, both well respected fighters challenged then-Capital David Steckel to drop the mits. Their willingness to engage with Steckel was their attempt at gaining some measure of retribution on Steckel. Wisely, Steckel declined the kind requests of Misters Engelland and Rupp, although he would eventually fight Tim Wallace. Wallace an AHL call up who virtually no one outside of his family or close group of friends had ever heard of. This begs the question, what warrants retribution in today's NHL?

If Steckel's accidental hit on Crosby justifies the response given by the Pens players, then the league has entered into a new era of retribution. Retribution used to mean something, it was used to police malicious hits and liberties taken upon certain players. For all intents and purposes a new precedent has been set, one where players are responsible for everything they do on the ice, whether it be intentional or accidental.

In line with the standards set forth by the Penguins, Brooks Orpik has to answer the bell, for ringing Mike Green's. Yes, he was shooting the puck towards the goal, but the fact is he hit Mike Green right in the head. Green has only played two games since then and was just recently placed on LTIR. It only makes sense that Orpik have to answer to one of the Caps tough guys. Am I being unreasonable? Obviously I am, but look all I want is the equilibrium to be restored not only in Green and Crosby's heads, but in the NHL as well.


  1. Wasn't it also Orpik who slashed Backstrom? I can't seem to recall, for some reason I'm thinking it was either him or Letang.

  2. Penguins players should get beat up by virtue of being Penguins players, so your point it moot.